Lilies forum: Frost advisory here again - Upstate NY

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Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
May 13, 2013 4:47 PM CST
I'm so hoping we don't have a frost. All the lilies are up and growing so beautifully. I can't cover them so they will stay as is and I'm hoping for the best. Crying

Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Joe
Rome, GA (Zone 7b)
Container Gardener
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LordBurghley
May 13, 2013 7:44 PM CST
It's chilly even down here in GA. I've had thoughts of maybe covering my tomatoes... Glare Here's hoping y'all stay above freezing! Smiling
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
May 13, 2013 7:47 PM CST
My experience has been that once lilies are up and running with a pretty good stand of growrh, they can take a little frost--say 31, 32'F for a couple hours without a problem. Especially this late with the ground being so warm and if you have any trees nearby, a damage to lilies is unlikely. That same temperature would probably kill small tomato and pepper plants, however, and damage newly emerging lilies from late Spring planting.

I covered with tarps around here last nite. Every Spring I put 4 foot tall tarping support posts (1" inch square) here and there throughout the garden just in case I have to cover them when they get up there in height. It got down to about 32'F for about an hour before sunrise and there was frost on the car tops but no damage to one smaller group of lilies that I just plain totally forgot to cover. It's the garden I have 'Seafarer' planted in, too!

Big warmup is coming right behing this cold snap!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
May 14, 2013 12:21 AM CST
Roosterlorn said:My experience has been that once lilies are up and running with a pretty good stand of growrh, they can take a little frost


An interesting observation. Are you saying that a lily with taller growth will stand more frost than the same lily when it is short?

That would seem counter-intuitive....

Name: Greg
Buena Park, California (Zone 10b)
Lilies Region: California Dog Lover Bulbs
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NW15
May 14, 2013 1:01 AM CST
While you are freezing we're having 90+ degree days!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
May 14, 2013 4:12 AM CST
Yes Rick, that's been my observations. I think I can explain this in three phases. First, when lilies first peak thier noses up (about an inch or so) the are still frost or freeze resistant well below 32' degrees. Second, as growth pushes further upward to 2, 3, 4 inches, it looses it's frost or freeze resistance rapidly and becomes most vunerable when the new stem opens up with a dense floret of leaves on the top. This is the most critical or most vunerable phase. I've observed many times where damage can occur at frost conditions at temperatures even above 32'F at this stage when there is a heavy dew. I believe it is this excess moisture that forms and is trapped within this tightly packed floret so it doesn't necessarily have to freeze to get a 'mushy top'. Third, once the stem grows taller and the leaves become more and more seperated as individuals, they become more and more unlikely to be damaged. Probably due to the physical nature, better air circulation is achieved; but I believe also that new tender growth is becoming more aclimated (tougher) and freeze resistant, well before bud stage. By Fall, of course, some lilies are so freeze resistant that a 'deep' freeze may not even freeze them.

There are Divisional differences with Spring frost resistance, Regales are by far the most susceptable, Asiatics the least.

My observations were taken over a 20 plus year period. You know I cover for frost, but I can't get them all. Some I miss, some I forget and sometimes I just plain get caught with my pants down with an unexpected frost not even I could predict locally so I've had plenty of opportunity to see what happens over the years. And, I should add, there are some which I don't care if they freeze or not.

So, even tho some garden temperatures in upstate New York will go below 32'F this morning, there most likely will not be any damage considering how far along they are in growth. We'll see what happens.

Picture added: I-390 Genessee Expy @ Rochester, NY. Frost on the grassy median. If you zoom in at 200% you can see a couple state patrol guys checking for speeders coming around the curve (upper left corner

Thumb of 2013-05-14/Roosterlorn/8c8056
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - May 14, 2013 6:12 AM (+)]
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Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
Clematis Daylilies Irises Region: New York Hummingbirder Seed Starter
Vegetable Grower I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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JuliaNY
May 14, 2013 6:45 AM CST
Well, we did get very cold last night and I did see some patches of light frost so time will tell if they got damaged or not. Rochester is further north from us here. We are near Seneca Lake (between Watkins Glen and Geneva). We are suppose to get into high 50's today and the rest of the week says 70's(F) with showers possible.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
May 14, 2013 7:42 AM CST
Two nights ago we had a low of 31* and today a forecast of 96*. That high temp worries me as much as the low ~ a little rough on spring flowers and new lily shoots.

Lorn, I agree with your assessment, particularly with the vulnerable "dense floret of leaves" period. I lost most of a clump of Gluhwein (for this season, hopefully) due to top rot from the copious rains and heavy dew. The stems were a least the size of a quarter in diameter and very leafy. I've removed all the mush and hope the remaining leaves will see it through to nourish the bulb.

Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
May 14, 2013 9:28 AM CST
Regarding freezing:
Lorn, If trapped moisture in low (temporarily) congested growth were a major factor, I would then expect the immediate damage to be where droplets collect and freeze, rather than the entire surface that would turn the sprouts to "mush". Is this the case with you?

Rather, if you get entire leaves or just leaf edges or tip sections showing damage, may I offer an alternative reasoning for your experiences. I submit that at this "explosive" growth stage (say 2-4 inches), plant tissues are more vulnerable because of their inherent tender and super active growth. A stage where cells and cell walls have no resistance whatsoever to pressures (like freezing [and expanding] water crystals) and what all else might be happening at freezing temps.

I was going to say I have practically not experience at all with spring freezes and lilies. I purposely prepare my beds to hold the cold into the spring and delay sprouting. Consequently, I have never worried about late freezes, even though others in the area do. As I said, "I was going to say" because I regularly have freezes when lilies are at the approximate 2-4 inch phase that is vulnerable for you. Damage never ensues, so I guess this counts as experience also.

But I contend that my experience is not contradictory to yours. I've always been puzzled by your regiment of mulching to attempt to keep the soil temperature near freezing, as opposed to me, who wants as much cold as possible. Herein lies my reasoning: at this same stage of "vulnerable" growth, your soil is much warmer than mine. Consequently, more water and nutrients are being pushed up faster by a more active bulb and root structure, making your new growth even more susceptible. Mine at the same stage, however, are slowed, comparatively speaking, by colder soil temps and resultant lower bulb and root activity. In addition, I've never thought of the downside of living near a large body of water. When you mentioned early how, when winds change direction, air temps can change enormously, well, that never happens like that here.

Regarding vulnerability when not freezing, but very wet:
Again I think this relates to speed of growth, perhaps because the inherent qualities of growth at this stage just can't cope, but more likely, the sudden arrested of vulnerable growth that allows for quick and fast pathogen infection and invasion. This is very common with alpine plant materials. Because of the stark environment they are adapted to, they have little need for inherent pathogen resistance, and so have a reduced immune system. This is analogous to the Native Americans and their Small pox epidemics at the turn of the last century. Infection and spread was swift and unstoppable.


Roosterlorn said:There are Divisional differences with Spring frost resistance, Regales are by far the most susceptible, Asiatics the least.


Again, not a lot of experience here, but it seem pretty widely accepted that martagons are more spring frost resistant than asiatics. Confused
Martagons are always the first to emerge, at least in my gardens. Could your experience be because, in your observations of asiatic damage vs. no damage, the martagons are all already past the vulnerable stage, that in fact martagons would have survived even colder temps earlier in the spring at the same stage?
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
May 14, 2013 12:39 PM CST
Rick, I don't have enough growing experience with Martagons to make a statement other than I know they're darn winter hardy. I should have said that.

Rick, in the case of 'mushy tops'--it can happen in a couple different ways. One is if full blown freezing action takes place (some temperature around 30'F for an extended period) the entire floret freezes and whatever leaves there are, all droop and the entire floret turns mushy. The second way is when there is a light frost above 32'F with plenty of moisture (dew) droplets that form and concentrate near the center of the floret, causing literally what appears to be drowning the newest growth at the center. The outer couple rings of older leaves of the floret don't freeze and don't droop but the center will become mushy if this moisture is not quickly evaporated (see Moby post above). It will kill this years growth within a week or two. I have duplicated a condition such as Moby describes by using a pot to cover that is too small, by leaving the pot over the plant too long after temps go above 32'F, by the tarps touching the plant tops allowing condensation transfer or by closing all the windows in the greenhouse as the nighttime temps drop,dew forms and water collects in the center olf the floret. Dumb luck by default, I guess. At least I learned something with each of those times.

About mulching--- I mulch to hold the cold in as long as possible, just like you. You know I'm the last guy in the parade to post pictures around here. I guess I mislead everybody with all those soil thermometer pictures. I do that because if the soil thaws below the mulch, I know I have to pull the mulch back off to prevent possible vole damage. As long as the surface remains frozen a little, I'm safe. I usually don't mulch until right around Chrismas-New Years when the ground is frozen at the surface just enough to support me. I do like to keep my first year seedlings around 28-31' F tho, if I can.



Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
May 14, 2013 4:19 PM CST
So you all think the mush that ensues after long term wetness without freezing is due to a purely physical condition? It could be. I don't know.

I've been winter mulching later and later now with climate change. This past season I mulched 2 days before Christmas. The ground is frozen at least several inches, it gets a lot colder here and we don't get reliable snow anymore (none stayed until mid January). If you wanted to, I think you could wait quite a bit longer to winter mulch your mature lily beds.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
May 14, 2013 5:40 PM CST
Yep, excess moisture trapped within the floret that doesn't get out within a couple hours will do it, especially when it's damp, cool and with little or no air circulation. It happens most when temperatures are between 32-38'F. What I don't know is exactly how biologically, what functions are prevented by these circumstances (smothering?) so as to cause such severe tissue distruction and mushiness. I think maybe you might know better than anyone, Rick. Keep in mind we're not talking about a frost or freeze circumstance/damage here.

Moby--I'll bet there weren't any mushy florets in Lincoln today at 99'F with a little wind. Maybe we'll see more of that purple leaf condition this year?
Lincoln, NE
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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Moby
May 14, 2013 10:12 PM CST
Dry as a bone around here ~ 100* and very windy. 2 weeks ago we had snow, 2 days ago it was a record low and now record highs. At least it didn't get to 108 like it did 70 mi. north of us. Ugg...

No! No purple leaf! Sticking tongue out
Where are we going, and why am I in this hand-basket?

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